— Navstéva (@Navsteva) November 28, 2016
The Remaining Jihadists of East Aleppo are in Not So Secret Peace Talks with Moscow
The UK Financial Times newspaper is reporting that Syrian rebel factions representing the jihadists trapped in east Aleppo's remaining pockets of resistance are negotiating with the Russians to end the fighting and bring humanitarian relief to the city. Ankara, playing both sides of the fence as always, is acting as the mediator and host of the talks. The United States State Department and its envoys were not invited. But State Dept. spokesmen like John Kirby were busy this week condemning the Syrian Arab Army (SAA)'s advances into east Aleppo as destructive of civilian lives and infrastructure, while never once admitting the U.S.-backed rebels were killing civilians fleeing to government territory after holding them hostage:
1. Fund "moderate" rebels.
2. Illegally intervene.
4. Ally with state sponsors of terrorism: KSA, Qatar, Turkey.
3. Blame Putin and Assad. pic.twitter.com/IoGnxAAq2Z
— Nina 🐻 KGByzantina (@NinaByzantina) December 1, 2016
The U.S. State Dept. Can't Get the Egg of its Face as Lies About the Civilian Population Supporting the East Aleppo Jihadists Collapse, Along With Their Narrative
— Partisangirl (@Partisangirl) December 1, 2016
Tulsi Gabbard: In Aleppo, Al Qaeda is "using the civilian pop. as human shields & their deaths as propaganda tools" https://t.co/kLACmNgxxe
— Sharmine Narwani (@snarwani) December 1, 2016
— Walid (@walid970721) November 29, 2016
What Happens Next:
The Idlib Battlefront and the Need for More (Egyptian?) Manpower to Hold Cleared Areas
What's clear is that if the jihadists are finally desperate enough to engage in actual peace talks through the Turks with the Russians, then their positions in east Aleppo have already been cut to pieces and what's left is the grim reduction of the pockets through massed firepower. Many of the jihadists reportedly want to surrender, likely because their families have already fled to government controlled territory, as retired Army Col. Patrick Lang writes at his Turcopolier blog. Some jihadis may choose to fight to the bitter end, while many will accept the government's truce offer and evacuation to Idlib on the lime green buses along with their relatives, as at Homs and East Ghouta. But Idlib itself, often under Russian Air Force bombardment to strike jihadi supply lines to the front, won't be spared ground combat for long, if this Southfront report is accurate:
However, despite the stunning success of the Syrian Arab Army, Liwa al-Quds (Palestinian militia), Hezbollah and Iranian/Iraqi Shi'a allies Aleppo offensive, progress toward Idlib is unlikely to be rapid. That's in no small part thanks to the pressure the Turkish Army backed jihadists are exerting on Al-Bab to the northeast of Aleppo city's newly liberated districts. In widening the breach and pursuit of a badly weakened enemy, the SAA's chronic shortages of manpower come into play. Especially when it comes to securing all of the newly liberated territory and preventing jihadists from infiltrating back in, especially the CIA armed factions equipped with TOW missiles -- though the TOWs have not proven as deadly of late as before, due to the Syrians' improvements in infra red jamming and use of T-72B3s upgraded with Kontakt 5 explosive armor.
Here the Russian trained Syrian forces use of drones linked to artillery and mortar fire to catch jihadi Toyota technicals and infantry in the open and along highways will be important. But the most critical factor is likely to be how much manpower from Iraq and perhaps the Egyptian Army the SAA can obtain to hold ground -- while elite units such as the Tiger Forces or Hezbollah assault enemy strongpoints, backed by Russian air strikes.
— Rogue Money (@theroguemoney) December 2, 2016
The Emerging Russia-Egypt-U.S. Triangle Under President Trump:
The Coalition New SecDef Marine Gen. James "Mad Dog" Mattis Will Use to Destroy ISIS
The rumblings that not only Egyptian advisers and ammunition but also regular infantry and helicopter assault units are being dispatched to fight alongside Syrian government forces continue from Damascus and Cairo. If the Egyptians did arrive in large numbers, it would totally deflate the neocon/Gulf Cooperation Council narrative about an Allawite/Shi'a sectarian alliance disenfranchising and crushing Syria's Sunni Arab majority. Not only is the SAA majority Sunni but the Egyptian Army is almost totally Sunni Muslim.
Be Polite, Be Professional, But Have a Plan to Kill Every Daesh-bag You Meet:
Pakistan as Another Potential Muslim Military in the Trump/Putin 'Coalition of the Willing'
A significant Egyptian military commitment would also go a long way to finally killing off any ideas the neo-Ottoman Sultan of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, may have about trying to seize territory north of Aleppo in piecemeal fashion as ISIS conveniently melts away. It seems given the fondness Donald Trump has for President Sisi personally and Trump's National Security Adviser retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn has for Egypt, that the Egyptians (NOT the paper tiger Saudis or Qataris, who're losing the war in Yemen) will be the ones providing the 'Sunni Arab allied force' ready to march on Raqqa with Presidents Trump AND Putin's blessing.
Another potential wild card in this mix is Pakistan, whom the media and Trump haters sneered at for The Donald buttering up the other day -- but the President elect may call in a Pakistani peacekeeping force for formerly ISIS-held Syria soon enough. RogueMoney's most astute readers may recall the OTHER major Muslim country besides Egypt that Russia just completed serious military exercises with? That would be the Soviets' old enemy turned member with rival India of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) -- Pakistan. What would those exercises have been done for, if not in preparation for a potential situation (say in eastern Syria) where Pakistani officers would need to be able to work with their Russian counterparts?
This Southfront video from early November explains some of the geopolitical (but not as much economic) reasons for Egypt's shift from a Gulf Cooperation Council ally to the Eurasian camp: